A Hunger

Lucie Brock Brodio, Author, Lucie Brock-Broido, Author Knopf Publishing Group $16.95 (60p) ISBN 978-0-394-56337-4
Ranging from the mundane to the ethereal, the themes of Brock-Broido's first collection are always interesting and sometimes startling. The poems can be roughly classified into three groups: those concerned with time, especially the conjunction of the past and the future; those influenced by things or places specifically American, poems that appear vaguely autobiographical; and those based on actual historical or contemporary events, usually involving, and often narrated by, a child. Some of the work's best moments occur in this latter category, where the poet writes with simplicity and clarity. In ``Birdie Africa,'' a poem based on the fire-bombing of the MOVE cult's Philadelphia tenement in 1985, a young boy describes his love for his father: ``But when I wind my arms around/ him, put my face into the dimmed scoop/ of his neck, he smells like good warm fire.'' Brock -Broido demonstrates an unusual ability to see things from the viewpoint of children, sensitively portraying their pain and confusion, but usually refraining from imposing upon them the mannered knowledge of the more sophisticated adult. In other poems, however, she takes the opposite tack, developing more mature themes with sometimes oblique references. By including sketchy explanations to several of her verses, Brock-Broido demystifies them a bit, but never reveals too much, leaving her poetry in a somewhat distanced realm. Overall, this is an absorbing volume, written with fine attention to word choice and rhythm, and at times able to achieve striking effects. (August)
Reviewed on: 08/05/1988
Release date: 08/01/1988
Genre: Fiction
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